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Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from Its Natural Origins to Its Modern Expression Hardcover – August 1, 1997
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"This volume offers experiential keys to help unlock the mystery of how music works its deep affect upon us. Harmonic Experience extends any reader's understanding of music and is a user-friendly, elegant and graceful work. It is a technical treatise about the inner workings of music." (Daniel Atesh Sonneborn, Smithsonian Institution)
"Mathieu's books are worth reading for anyone in any field of music--jazz, classical, gospel, or any other. He's found the words to tell the power of music." (Pete Seeger, folksinger)
"This book goes beyond what most textbooks offer, and its highly original pedagogy deserves the attention of every teacher of harmony. Above all, this is a book for anyone who would like to acquire harmony as a lived experience rather than as mere memorization of unyielding rules on paper." (Chien-Chang Yang, Quarterly Journal of the MLA)
"Mathieu is consistently proving himself to be one of the best in musical theory." (John Coltrane in Downbeat Magazine)
About the Author
W. A. Mathieu is the author of The Listening Book and The Musical Life. His compositions and solo piano music have been extensively recorded. He lives in Sebastopol, California, where he writes, composes, and teaches.
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As one who has been involved all his life in the field of music (40+ years), i can say that this is the most important book i know for anyone interested in music theory, improvisation and composition.
This book offers food for the soul - as it blends the technical with the experiential in its lucid exposition of the universal art of music.
Here, analogy and humor balance with science to evoke a deeper cognizance of the varied facets of this multi-cultural form of human experience.
Here too, the universal power of the 'Divine Art' of Music is well-expressed, so that it may be passed on - in the tradition of the 'bards' of every age.
Any musical novice, journeyman, or master would benefit from the experience that this book offers. Many thanks to Maestro Mathieu.
Basically, what I got from these practices is a certainty of what sounds good to me. How to understand music harmony and best of all, your own music. None of these things could have been possible however without practice. So, yes the book in great and very useful, but it is all up to the musician to expand and find why she/he is doing music in the first place. It should be because you just love doing it. There is a lot material here and with patience and practice, it can make you the musician you want to be.
Now, there is nothing I like better than to play 5/4 rhythms for over forty minutes harmonically, beautifully, tastefully without any keys. Yes, highly recommended.
I don't remember now why I bought it, I think it was something to do with an interest in tuning (equal temperament vs. other systems), but it didn't address that in any kind of systematic or comprehensible way that I could connect with.
My only regret is that the heaviest book that I had for doing DIY "weighting down" jobs is gone now.
And this is still my problem, I am reading but not practicing, and I am still missing the real point of this book, which is EXPERIENCE, not just technical mastery of his elegant method of fathoming harmony. Perhaps this admission will prompt me to finally take the bold step of actually playing the drones and singing the intervals and really gathering the experience. Meanwhile, I love and treasure the book; it's beautifully written, profound, complicated but within our grasp, and fun. It's time to take a swim beneath the surface - I think I'll start right now.